May 17, 2007:
Saudi Arabia has put strict controls
on the sale of explosives and fireworks. This comes on the heels of
restrictions on the sale of fertilizers (like ammonium nitrate) that can be
turned into explosives (by mixing them with diesel fuel). All this comes in the
wake of police taking down at least seven Islamic terrorist cells (and nearly
200 arrests) over the last six months. The interrogations continue. Some of
those caught have been quick to confess, some of them doing so on TV.
The captured terrorists made it clear that
commercial explosives were too easy to get, thus the new restrictions. It's
expected that those who illegally supply explosives to anyone, in the future,
will face severe penalties. In Saudi Arabia, you can get your hands, or your
head, cut off for breaking the law.
The restrictions on fireworks sales comes from the
experience in other countries, where terrorists have bought or stolen large
quantities of fireworks, then painstakingly extracted the gunpowder, and
repackaged it into powerful bombs.
The captured Saudi terrorists admitted that they
were planning to use lots of explosives to do serious damage to Saudi oil
production and pumping facilities. Without lots of explosives, you can't do a
lot of damage to these industrial targets.